Basketball Australia hires Joyce as women's coach
Basketball Australia has hired Brendan Joyce as head coach of the Australian Opals women's basketball team in a deal that runs through the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Joyce, who worked as an assistant for the national men's team - the Boomers - from 2001-09, including two Olympic Games, replaces Carrie Graf in the Opals job.
The Opals have won medals at the last five Olympics - including a run of three consecutive final defeats to the U.S. from 2000-2008 - and won the 2006 World Championships in Brazil.
''Many of our Opals are among the best athletes in the world, and the success achieved by Opals coaches and players past and present has put them firmly on the international stage,'' Joyce said in a statement. ''The Opals have medaled at the last five Olympic Games - making them one of Australia's most consistent women's national teams.
''We've talked a big game about success at the Olympics, and now it's time to back that up.''
The Opals have a host of high-profile players in leagues around the world, including Penny Taylor, a three-time All Star who plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.
''Brendan is highly regarded as a coach who has always gotten the best out of his teams,'' said Taylor, who missed the London Olympics while recovering from an ACL injury. ''Players speak very highly of his X's and O's and his belief in team and culture. I'm excited to work with him.''
AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg contributed to this report.